Shannon’s father dropped her off that morning. He was always able to make her smile, even laugh. There was no laughter today. A few forced smiles. He made a note to speak with her mother about it after his project was finished. Before she opened the door, he patted her on the back and wished her a good day. She closed her eyes and sighed, grabbing her backpack. Then out into the bright, sunny day she wished she could enjoy.
Her father’s car zoomed off. She felt abandoned. Sure, Shannon thought, this is my school. I know it all too well. She decided to let the day’s sunshine brighten her spirit. Maybe today wouldn’t be so bad. Shannon walked to her locker with a smile she nearly felt.
“Look, girls,” came the hated voice, “it’s Shannon the Loose Cannon with a smile. Wonder who dressed her today. A blind nanny?” The girls around Carole laughed appropriately.
“Good morning, Cow, I mean Carole. Still having trouble with those spots on your face? You should see a doctor about them,” Shannon said with mock concern. Carole’s grip on popularity never wavered despite developing acne. No one mentioned it where the uber-twit could hear. No one but Shannon.
The minions gasped. Carole turned red. “You’ll pay, Loose Cannon. Believe it.” She tossed her long, blonde hair over her shoulder and strode away with her coterie. Shannon was pleased she kept control of her anger.
An older boy stopped at her locker. Shannon was changing out books. “That was great. I never saw anyone call Carole on her pimples. And calling her ‘Cow?’ Inspired.”
“You look familiar, but I don’t think I know you.”
“Oh, sorry. Bobby Milton. You might know me from football games,” he responded, ducking his head.
“Never been to one, but I’ve been forced to pep rallies with the rest of the school. I probably saw you there,” Shannon said.
Bobby paused, pulling on his earlobe. “Want to go to Saturday’s game? I can get you in free, even get you a hot pretzel. We could go to Carmen’s afterward.”
Shocked, Shannon blinked at him several times. “Uh… sure, yeah. Sounds fun,” she lied. Football? “When do you want to pick me up?” she asked.
Bobby made a face.”Coach makes us show up way ahead of the games. We do stuff to get ready. Would be boring for you, so can you meet me here around 2:00? We have a little break before the game to cool down. I’ll look for you in the stands, okay?” Shannon nodded, fiddling with a notebook.
Bobby brushed her hand with his fingertip and leaned close. “You were great this morning with Cow. Oh, I mean Carole. Really,” he told her and walked away. The warning bell rang, so Shannon ran to her first class. French II.
Sacré bleu! What a crazy thing to have happen. Bobby Milton, an upperclassman on the football team, asking her for a date. She laughed out loud at the absurdity of it. Aware of the sudden silence, she sunk in her chair. “Finis, Mademoiselle?” asked Madame Caron.
“Oui, Madame, merci,” she responded.
Naturally, someone curried favor later by telling Carole what happened. “Just warming up, Loose Cannon?” asked Carole nastily.
“Just enjoying the day,” Shannon smiled, doubling the lie. Don’t give in, don’t react. The constant mantra.
She tried to focus through the rest of her day. Trig, IT, Western Civ, and study period went by safely. She was especially proud of study period. She sometimes went a little nuts over a detail in the book she was reading there. It was like looking into the abyss of crazitude if she really got going.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t get out of the school and avoid English Lit. The delightful Carole and two of her minions were in the class, too. “Still enjoying the day, Loose Cannon? Will you treat us with some of your nutso interruptions again?” The minions giggled.
Shannon took her seat and smoothed her hair, pointedly ignoring the uber-twit. That brought a few sniggers from hidden supporters. It was nearly the end of the day. Her dad was picking her up, a rare treat. She survived the Cow, didn’t have to resort to harsher methods. And Bobby Milton asked her for a date. “Bobby Milton,” she breathed.
“What was that, Shannon?” Mr. Snyder asked. “Milton? No, do you have the correct text? It’s Shakespeare’s sonnets today.”
Mortified, Shannon waved the book of sonnets in the air for him to see. He nodded and told a kid to continue reciting. “It’s just the Loose Cannon’s imagination going crazy as usual,” stage whispered Carole. Mr. Snyder peered at her, accustomed to her interruptions. He ignored her rather than give her attention. “Wonder what the nutty little bitch has in store for the final show,” continued Carole.
Little bitch? Over the line, even for the Cow. Shannon’s anger spilled over and she stood, knocking some of her stuff to the ground. She began the chant, opening her arms as the wind flooded her, racing through her hair. Ignoring Mr. Snyder and the kids who ran in from nearby classrooms, she completed the invocation.
With an invisible crack like a tree splitting from lightning, he appeared. Not much taller than Shannon, but chartreuse in color. He dressed nicely in smoking jacket and cravat. “Shannon, lovely to see you. How may I serve?”
Shannon merely pointed at Carole. “May I introduce you to the Cow?”
Sheolan waved his hand and spoke a few words which echoed through the classroom. There were gasps, a few screams, and many running footsteps. Carole now sported small horns and a pimply snout pierced with a ring. “Pleasure to meet you, Cow,” he said pleasantly.
He turned to Shannon. “Thank you,” she told him.
“Always fun to visit, Shannon.” He faded into nothing.
She noticed Bobby hanging back. He stood there in shock. Shannon asked, “How do you like me now?”
© 2011 JC Rosen
Dedicated to a young lady who has her own brand of magic.